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Monday, February 24, 2014

Fate wheels her hand in mysterious ways

In 1800, Kojo is a native African with deep connections to the spirits—but those spirits choose not to save him from the slaving ship. He’s captured and taken aboard, where he meets Captain Mather. During the long journey to America, not even the spirits can save him from their growing attraction. Love blooms. A doomed love. For when they land, Kojo’s fate is to be sold.
Captain Mather can’t imagine Kojo being treated as a slave. Desperate to spare him from that life, the captain hides him, taking him to his home. When he’s blackmailed by a mutinous former crewmember, there seems little choice but to sell his ship and pay. Anything to save the man he loves.

In my M/M historical romance Saltwater Lover I take the master/slave relationship to another level—the historical one! This presented itself as quite the challenge. I wanted to portray this story as historically accurate as I could while remaining respectful to the hot button issue. 
In 1800, Captain Mather makes his living in the African slave trade. He never expected to have feelings for one of the men his crew had kidnapped. Kojo stirs his desires the first time he sees him bound on the beach. Dare he act upon his desires? The man clearly liked his touch which is too much to handle and as soon as he sets sail he tries to distance himself from the tempting slave.

Kojo doesn’t understand his attraction to the captain, but he holds onto the hope he will see him again. Days pass without his presence. And finally it is his hunger strike which brings them together. Mather wants to take care of him and nurse him back to health.

The truth is something like this could have happened.

Kojo is brought to the captain’s cabin naked and in chains. This situation lends itself to the BDSM element. This story does not go into whipping and spanking which I believe would have really been really controversial considering the setting and characters. What I like best about BDSM is being tied up. In chains Kojo is at the captain’s mercy. Now that’s sexy!

Despite my concern, it seems some people find this romance uncomfortable. Is it possible for love to overcome the trauma of being taken from your homeland? I’d like to think so. Kidnap romance is a popular trope after all. So what is all the buzz about? Maybe because of the interracial element? If I made this story take place in outer space would it be received differently? I’m not sure.

Since they don’t speak the same language it is hard for them to communicate thus hard for Kojo to give his consent. However, I hope I make it clear in the story that Captain Mather does not take advantage of the young African. Their relationship is mutual. Even though Kojo won’t call Mather “master” it seems natural for him to submit in the bedroom. Mather strokes Kojo’s cock and the African learns the true meaning of pleasure. He’d always imagined fear and desire were two very different things. Now he knew otherwise.

Mather pulled a chair back from the table and gestured for Kojo to sit. The man stared at the wooden seat and then at the captain, calculating what to do. The captain waited. He was patient, and with this one he’d wait even longer than usual.

Finally, Kojo sat stiffly. The chain rattled against the wood and Mather wished he could strip away the bonds. But that wasn’t safe. Not yet. Kojo repositioned himself so he wasn’t resting on the chain.

“Are you hungry?” Mather asked in Kojo’s native language.

The man’s expression remained blank as if his question wasn’t heard. But the grumble of his stomach answered for him. Mather casually waved his hand. “I’ll have Cook bring us something to eat,” he said, switching to English. “But in my cabin we wash before we eat.”

Kojo stared at him intently as if he was trying to understand what Mather had just said. A smile played on the captain’s lips. Perhaps he should have left Kojo on the hook ’til the bath was over. He did not know how the young man was going to react.

Mather shifted his weight and felt the knife hanging from a leather sheath on his belt. He could take care of himself. The man was going to get a bath. It was for his own good. He lost too many slaves to disease on the voyages back to America as it was. He wasn’t going to lose Kojo. He expected a nice sum from the investors for bringing back a slave that would bring them fifteen hundred dollars. Mr. Crenshaw had specifically requested a strong young man, and that’s what he’d better deliver.

Mather took out a cake of lye soap from his personal belongings. He dipped a rag into the bucket of water and then approached Kojo slowly. He didn’t want to make any sudden moves. The man had a look about him like a confused animal—and confused could be dangerous.

Searching his memory for the word for wash, Mather came up blank. If he couldn’t tell him, he’d have to show him. He took the rag and washed his own face first. He then wet the rag again and pressed it on Kojo’s forehead, looking into his eyes, trying to gauge his emotion. The man tensed but didn’t move. His gaze seemed distant, as if he was somewhere else.

Mather built up a good lather in Kojo’s hair and then rinsed it clean. The African hadn’t moved, like he was a sitting statue. Tenderly, Mather wiped the dirt and grime off Kojo’s face, washing him with the soap and water. “See? It doesn’t hurt. I want to be your friend.” Kojo couldn’t understand him, but the tone of his voice was soft and soothing.

By the time he worked his way down Kojo’s neck to the plane of his chest, the man relaxed. His vision returned to focus on a spot in the room, on what, he didn’t know. Mather took extra time on his chest, tracing his muscles, which had thinned to wiry ropes. He rubbed one of Kojo’s dusky nipples and the man sucked in air. He leaned into his touch, as though silently pleading for more. Mather continued playing with the nipple until it formed a stiff peak. He gave the other nipple the same attention before moving lower.

Kojo blushed and Mather bit his tongue to hold back a chuckle. He wetted the rag again and slowly washed down to Kojo’s hips. He inched down the valley of Kojo’s powerful thighs, first the right and then the left. Kojo’s cock thickened and his breaths came faster.

Mather nearly groaned. His core heated and his balls tightened, but he resisted the temptation.

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Shiloh Saddler likes to do research for her steamy romances first hand. She has invented a time machine and travels back to the 19th century on a regular basis. There are experimental settings on her time machine which could propel her into the future and even other worlds. She believes love and a good book makes anything possible.

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